(Long Island, N.Y.) During Spring Training, the Yankees had a numbers problem regarding their starting pitching. But even back then when it appeared that they had too much of a good thing, there was still the specter of a long season where anything can go wrong lying ahead.
Fast forward three months and that possibility has come to roost. Just like that (snap your fingers now); the Bronx Bombers have lost two-fifths of their rotation when both CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte went on the disabled list.
Fortunately for Sabathia, his stay will be a short one with a strained groin. But Pettitte is going to be on the shelf for at least six or eight weeks with a fractured fibula in his left ankle, courtesy of a come backer to the mound off the bat of the Cleveland Indians’ Casey Kotchman.
For the time being, the Yanks will try to get by with the promotion of right-hander Adam Warren from Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes/Barre and moving long man Freddy Garcia from the pen back into the rotation, where he was fairly effective a year ago. But do not discount Brian Cashman making a trade before the postseason eligibility deadline on July 31st if the two are not as effective as they are being counted on to be.
With a full five game lead in the American League East, the Yankees have some wiggle room and can wait and see before making a panic move. Pettitte, who has been a nice addition since coming out of retirement at 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA, feels that his current teammates will be able to pick up the slack.
“We’ve just got to weather the storm,” he told reporters. “Nobody is going to feel sorry for you with injuries and that stuff like that. We’ve got plenty of guys who can step in and do the job.”
Hopefully Garcia can turn things around once he is back in a more familiar role of regularity. He has started four games this season and also has 10 relief appearances with a 2-2 record and a high 6.39 ERA. In 2011, the veteran joined the Yankees and finished with a 12-8 mark with an impressive 3.62 ERA in 25 starts, prompting Cashman to re-sign him with a shot at making the rotation again.
Although he is 35 and has had injury problems, Garcia can still get the job done when he is on and get the Yankees over this hump. It may be an issue of how much gas he has left in the tank and how far he can pitch into games. That will not be the case with the 6’2″, 225-pound Warren, who has an even record (5-5) and a 3.86 ERA in 15 minor league starts. He should be able to give manager Joe Girardi innings, something that Garcia may not be able to provide.
When Pettitte came back in the spring, there were many people asking where he would fit in. Now those same folks are asking when will he be ready to pitch again.